This hornpipe, known in Gaelic as Cranniciuil (Ui)
Fishuir, is known to have existed from the 18th century and has
been attributed to several composers, several different countries and
several styles which have been said to have come from Canada, England,
Germany, Ireland, Scotland, the Shetland Islands and the United States.
There is little disagreement that the piece, which
became popular very quickly, was known and published in England
dating from the mid-1700s although the composers have come under much
speculation. They have been
named as Fisher/Fishar and the ones that have been earmarked to have
written the piece include Johann Christian Fischer, James A. Fishar and
Johann Christian Fischer, who was a German classical
composer and acquaintance of Mozart, has been said to be the original
composer and it is known that the piece was published in England
in the later 1700s under the name of J. Fishar (possibly/probably Fischer).
James A Fishar is another possible. It is known that during the 1770s he
worked at Covent Garden as a ballet master, music
director and dancer and thought to have been the J. Fishar who published Sixteen Cotillions, Sixteen Minuets and
Twelve Hornpipes in 1778 where it was included as “Hornpipe
J.W. Fisher is the third possibility. He was a fiddler active in England
in the 18th century.
The tune is known to have appeared in print in the
1780s with the title “Lord Howe’s Hornpipe” when it was
published in Longman and Broderip’s 5th Selection of the Most Admired Dances, Reels, Minuets
and Cotillions. It also
appeared as “Danc’d by Aldridge” in Scotland in 1780 in
McGlashen’s Collection of
Scot’s Measures and came out in print in America in 1783 when it
was copied by John Greenwood for his book on German flute, in Rhode Island
in 1788 in a Collection by John Griffith and in 1796 when it was published
in Philadelphia in An Evening
Amusement for German Flute and Violin.
The tune has been a popular favourite on both sides of
the Atlantic in the UK,
Europe, the United
States and Canada
and known and published by many other names. Some of the other titles include:
This version was published in Ireland in Old Irish Folk Music and Song by
Joyce in 1909.
This one appeared in Scotland
in the 19th century when it was published in Cork
in 1818 as part of a fiddler’s collection and in Scotland
in 1887 in MacDonald’s The Skye
China Orange Hornpipe
This version is said to have been written with
notation in the late 1830s by the musician John Moore who hailed from Shropshire
The story goes that when some professional dancers who
danced the hornpipe on stage practiced to this tune they put eggs down so
they could practice moving in and around them without any breakages. Joshua Gibbons of Lincolnshire
wrote down a notated version of the tune in a manuscript sometime in the
1820s and gave it the name “Egg Hornpipe”. In the late 1990s it appeared in
print in Lincolnshire Collections
Vol. 1: The Joshua Gibbons Manuscript and in 1999 it was included on
the album Rig-a-Jig-Jig: Dance Music
of the South of England.
The First of
Also known as “Rickett’s Hornpipe”,
this version was in honour of John Bill Ricketts who immigrated from Scotland
and then to the United States
in 1792. He was an extremely successful
circus promoter who danced the hornpipe while standing on the back of
horses in America
until there was a fire at his base in Philadelphia
just before Christmas in 1799.
In the 19th century he took on the dancer John Durang who
produced shows for him.
This one is also called “The Kerryman’s
Daughter”, among many other names, and appears as the initial tune
within the medley described as “The Bungee Jumpers” which was
recorded by Sharon Shannon.
This version was notated in Ireland
sometime in the mid-1900s by the piper Willie Clancy. It was published in 1993 in
Mitchell’s Dance Music of
O’Dwyer’s Hornpipe was one of several
tunes that appeared in 1898 in Belfast’s
Feis Ceoil when it was brought in by the Irish piper Philip Goodman from
Louth. It appeared in The Darley & McCall Collection of
Traditional Irish Music by Darley & McCall and in
O’Neill’s Music of
Ireland in 1850.
This version that appeared in Helperby, Yorkshire,
England had its
source listed on a manuscript by the fiddler Lawrence Leadley in the mid
1800s. It was published in 1994
in The Fiddler of Helperby.
This tune that goes under several names including
“Fisher’s Hornpipe” possibly first came to public
attention when it was written in 1821 on a manuscript by the fiddler John
Burks whose birthplace is unknown. It has been published in
several collections, described as having a melody akin to “Manchester
Hornpipe” and its style has been said to be English, Irish, from The
Shetland Islands and other parts of Scotland.
Wigs on the
This version is supposed to be based on what is said
when there is an impending fight according to the Irish music collector
P.W. Joyce. The phrase has been
used in the context “There will be wigs on the green” when
there was a disagreement in Ireland
and in Scotland
the phrase “There’ll be bonnets on the green” means the
Also known as “The Thresher”, this is a
version from Wales
from the Tro Llaw Collection which was written for the Welsh Harp.
Fisher’s Hornpipe (J. Fishar)